This chapter introduces the reader to the impact of use on users themselves. Anthropology has taught us that use of tools has made humans what we are, not only by helping transform our environment, but also ourselves – an idea discernible in Vitruvius, too. We have, therefore, to see edifices as catalysts of human behavior, as sparks setting in motion procedures linked to substantial aspects of our personality, rather than mere objects at our disposal.

We use edifices that have been built or previously occupied by others by entering in some relationship with them. This has an especially significant impact on us because we more or less personify buildings: this is what allows and forces us to be compared with them and to their authors. The idea of the building as a body has recurred in architectural theory since antiquity. By respecting them, by disregarding them and building new edifices nearby, by destroying them, by occupying them, by appropriating them we express our drive for aggression or our creativity, or both simultaneously.